Special Olympics: Social Integration Through Sport
With our Community Impact program, we at J&J Benelux make a difference every day for the people around us. One of our partners in this is the Special Olympics. In Belgium alone, there are 165,000 people with intellectual disabilities. And no fewer than 1,000,000 Belgians are directly or indirectly associated with these individuals.
The state of health of people with intellectual disabilities is in some cases very poor. We want to improve this situation in collaboration with the Special Olympics. We support this organization financially, but we also encourage our employees to help and participate in the various activities.
With the launch of our partnership we have already taken on the first challenge: Play Unified. We organize friendly matches between Special Olympics athletes and our Janssen colleagues, where people with and without intellectual disabilities play sports together.
With its activities, Special Olympics Belgium touches the lives of 12,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities. Did you know that 56% of those athletes are wearing the wrong shoe size? And that half of them suffer from problems with balance? But they also seem to suffer from other complaints. Diabetes, hearing problems, dental problems… and the taboo surrounding this area is something we are particularly keen to tackle.
Through the Healthy Athletes program, Special Olympics evaluates the physical condition of the athletes. So if health problems are detected, the individuals are given advice or a referral to a specialist. With initiatives such as the Healthy Athletes program, we are also raising awareness of this issue among a wider audience.